Local greenhouses are seeing a boom this season as more customers are coming in to get flowers or vegetables.
“I would say I consider ourselves blessed a little bit,” said Jason Levan of Perry Greenhouse and Supply. “Customers I think just needed something to do at home. Gardening with vegetables has seen a huge spike, also just planting flowers and working in yards.”
Levan wasn’t sure how COVID-19 would affect the business.
“I was really nervous about the timing of this virus because back in February, March I was growing everything and filling up the greenhouse and taking care of plants,” he said. “I was very nervous that people wouldn’t be getting out of their house because none of us knew what was going to be the end result.”
Greenhouses were since classified as essential businesses, he said, because they offer vegetables, garden seeds, fertilizer and more.
Levan has definitely seen an uptick in business as more customers are coming in or ordering vegetables and flowers.
Though he said vegetables have been hard to keep stocked. Levan grows quite a few tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and more from seed.
“Everyone started early and we weren’t quite ready for that. We sold out most of what I grew in the first week of nice weather in April. We’ve been scrambling around trying to bring in more,” Levan said.
That meant he has made trips to other greenhouses or whole suppliers as deliveries are also delayed because of higher demand.
Annuals have also sold well as he is currently out of 25 different items. He said it makes it tougher as he grows the annuals in house rather than bring them in from a truck.
Though he added that they are still in great shape. They grow around 10,000 geraniums and petunias in different varieties. While they may be out of a certain color, he said they still have a nice selection available of those and other annuals.
“We don’t have everything we did two weeks ago but I think we have some really nice looking stuff. Including some nice looking hanging baskets and planters,” Levan said.
The planters include red white and blue ones they made up for Memorial Day. Levan added that they also have a nice selection of perennials. Those he brings in from a supplier and he is able to bring in more throughout the season.
While more customers have come into the greenhouse, others have been ordering plants off of Facebook, via email or phone.
“We’ve done, I’ve estimated 40 percent of our business is curbside or truely delivery,” Levan said.
Customers can call in their orders and Levan said they can bring items right out to them on the curb. He also installed a doorbell for customers who are picking up items at the curb.
For those coming into the greenhouse, Levan said they have taken extra safety precautions. While there are around 12,000 square feet of space inside the greenhouse, Levan said he has kept a count so they can keep the numbers at 10 or few inside at one time. He added that they have also kept the purchasing area extra clean.
Levan said they have also seen customers come in to shop with gift cards purchased through the Perry Pride Business Booster program. The program is partnership with the Perry Chamber of Commerce and City of Perry.
Customers can choose to purchase $20 in gift cards to various businesses like Perry Greenhouse and Supply and they will receive $30 to use later through a grant with the city.
“I think the city’s commitment to small businesses through the program was great,” Levan said.
He has enjoyed seeing more community members come into the greenhouse during the spring season.
“I just want to say thanks to everyone for supporting us,” Levan said.